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What happened to the princes in Tower of London?

What happened to the princes in Tower of London?

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According to Sir Thomas More and William Shakespeare, Edward IV's sons were murdered by their uncle, King Richard III. But I've heard (in song) that this was a "Tudor propaganda" lie.

If King Richard III didn't kill them, then who did? Are there any credible theories about the princes surviving after their disappearance?

The Wikipedia article sets out the main suspects, including Richard III himself and various allies of his.

There were a number of people who claimed, after Richard had died, to be one of the Princes in the Tower, the most famous being Perkin Warbeck, who fought Henry VII for the throne. after Warbeck was captured he confessed under torture that he had made this up. Another pretender, Lambert Simnel, initially claimed to be one of the Princes but changed that for the Earl of Warwick, who had another claim on the throne.

Princes in the Tower: A Mystery of Missing Royalty

What happened to the Princes in the Tower is one of England’s biggest mysteries of all time.

One of the most enduring scandals in England’s history took place in 1483 when two princes in the Tower of London disappeared under the care of their uncle, King Richard III. The older prince was soon to be crowned King of England, but his accession never happened. No one living today knows exactly what happened to these two boys. However, the circumstances of their disappearance were very suspicious, indeed.

The Tower of London. Photo: Historic Mysteries.

The Princes

Prince Edward, or King Edward V, was the oldest son of King Edward IV and next in line to be King of England. His mother was Queen Elizabeth Woodville. Edward was born in Westminster Abbey in 1470 and sent to Ludlow Castle to be educated.

Prince Edward and Richard in the tower, by Sir John Everett Millais, 1878.

Prince Richard, the 1st Duke of York, was Edward’s younger brother and the second son of Edward IV and his queen. Richard was married to the five-year-old Anne Mawbry when he was just four.

The princes had a half-brother on their mother’s side, who also plays into the story of their disappearance. His name was Lord Richard Grey.

Death of King Edward IV

King Edward IV died of natural causes on April 9, 1483. His son Edward was twelve at the time and Richard was ten. The death of his father made young Edward king. Because they were so young, their uncle Richard, Duke of Gloucester was named Lord Protector of King Edward V and Richard, Duke of York, upon the death of King Edward IV.

King Edward V. Image: Public Domain.

The coronation ceremony of Edward V was to be held on June 22, 1483. At the time of his father’s death, he was at Ludlow Castle. He left there for the Tower of London, where his coronation was to begin. He was accompanied by his half-brother and Lord William Hastings, among others.

Interception of the Young King’s Entourage

The Duke of Gloucester and a group of his ‘co-conspirators’ intercepted the King Edward V’s entourage in Stony Stratford. This resulted in the arrest and imprisonment of Lord Richard Grey. Lord William Hastings was later beheaded when the duke accused him of conspiring to assassinate him.

King Edward V was taken from Stony Stratford to St. Paul unharmed and under the premise that he was still to be crowned king. His little brother, Richard was taken to Westminster Abbey with their mother. Edward was later brought to the Tower of London where he was supposed to be. Young Richard met him there on June 16, 1483.

Legitimacy of the Princes Comes Into Question

It was alleged that King Edward IV was engaged to Lady Eleanor Talbot before he married Elizabeth Woodville. Though the couple apparently never married, this engagement would have made the king’s marriage illegal. Marriages that were illegal, or acts of bigamy, were considered null and void. If the marriage was illegal, the children of that marriage would have been illegitimate.

These accusations worked to the Duke of Gloucester’s advantage when, on June 25, 1483, Parliament concluded that the engagement had taken place. Therefore, the princes were not legitimate heirs to the throne. In light of this, Richard, Duke of Gloucester was made King Richard III. He went on to have a lover of his late brother, Jane Shore, imprisoned in the Tower of London. Apparently, he wasn’t happy with his brother’s love life.

King Richard III. Image: Public Domain.

At some point after both princes arrived at the Tower of London, they both vanished. They were certainly seen there as late as July. However, no one is exactly sure when they were last seen. It is widely believed that neither of them ever left the tower. There is no record of them doing so. In fact, there is no record of them at all past 1483.

What Happened to the Princes?

Is it possible that the names of the princes just slipped out of recorded history? This is not likely, as the public noted their absence at the time of their disappearance. Could they have been hidden away to avoid further conspiracy against them? This is possible, due to the fact that if they were able to prove they were legitimate, Edward would have been able to retake the crown. However, there is no record of this, either.

A depiction of the murder of the Princes in the Tower of London (1865). Image: Public Domain.

Could they have been murdered by the order of the new king? This is certainly possible. There are clues that seem to point to this very thing. However, King Richard III was killed in battle three years after taking the throne, making way for the Tudor dynasty. It is possible that not Richard, but one of the Tudors killed the princes in the Tower of London.

Did King Richard III Murder the Princes in the Tower?

As stated above, it is not certain that the princes were murdered. Nonetheless, there were rumors, based on eyewitness claims, that King Richard III had them murdered. The August 2015 article regarding the princes in the UK news website Independent, provides many theories and possible murderers of the brothers. One of the potential murderers listed is Sir James Tyrell, King Richard’s servant, who some people say confessed under torture that he killed the princes in the tower, as he was ordered.

The skeletons of two children where found near this spot in 1674. Photo: Historic Mysteries.

Someone had supposedly smothered them with a pillow and then buried them underneath a set of stairs. This matches up with evidence found in the Tower of London in 1674. That year, the skeletons of two children were found in a chest beneath the Chapel stairs in the tower. The remains were taken to Westminster Abbey and buried there, near some of the siblings of the princes.

In 1933, the bones were exhumed and examined. They were also photographed. The doctors who performed the examination concluded based on several clues that the bones could certainly belong to the princes. Unfortunately, authorities at Westminster Abbey have forbidden further examination of the bones, to date. Nonetheless, scientists have studied the photographs that were taken and have come to their own, varying, conclusions.

The princes in the Tower: why was their fate never explained?

A deafening silence surrounded the disappearance of Edward V and his brother, Richard, Duke of York. But why? As Leanda de Lisle writes, both Richard III and Henry Tudor had good reasons not to talk publicly about the princes.

This competition is now closed

Published: October 1, 2013 at 5:51 pm

An insecure king

A surviving prince?

The players in the princes’ downfall

Henry VI (1421–71)

Succeeding his father, Henry V, who died when he was a few months old, Henry VI’s reign was challenged by political and economic crises. It was interrupted by his mental and physical breakdown in 1453 during which time Richard, 3rd Duke of York, was appointed protector of the realm. Both men were direct descendants of Edward III and in 1455 Richard’s own claim to the throne resulted in the first clashes of the Wars of the Roses – fought between supporters of the dynastic houses of Lancaster and York over the succession.

Richard died at the battle of Wakefield in 1460 but his family claim to the throne survived him and his eldest son became king the following year – as Edward IV. Richard’s younger son would also be king, as Richard III. Henry VI was briefly restored to the throne in 1470 but the Lancastrians were finally defeated at Tewkesbury in 1471 and Henry was probably put to death in the Tower of London a few days later.

Edward IV (1442–83)

Edward succeeded where his father Richard, the third Duke of York failed – in overthrowing Henry VI during the Wars of the Roses. He was declared king in March 1461, securing his throne with a victory at the battle of Towton. Edward’s younger brother Richard became Duke of Gloucester. Later, in Edward’s second reign, Richard played an important role in government. Edward married Elizabeth Woodville in 1463 and they had 10 children: seven daughters and three sons. The eldest, Elizabeth, was born in 1466. Two of the three sons were alive at the time of Edward’s death – Edward, born in 1470, and Richard, born 1473. Edward is credited with being financially astute and restoring law and order. He died unexpectedly of natural causes on 9 April 1483.

Elizabeth, Queen Consort (c1437–92)

Edward IV’s marriage to Elizabeth Woodville, a widow with children, took place in secret in 1464 and met with political disapproval. The king’s brother, Richard, Duke of Gloucester, was among those allegedly hostile to it. The preference the Woodville family received caused resentment at court, and there was friction between Elizabeth’s family and the king’s powerful advisor, Hastings. On Edward IV’s death in 1483, Gloucester’s distrust of the Woodvilles was apparently a factor in his decision to seize control of the heir, his nephew. Elizabeth sought sanctuary in Westminster, from where her younger son, Richard, Duke of York, was later removed. The legitimacy of her marriage and her children was one of Gloucester’s justifications for usurping the throne on 26 June.

Once parliament confirmed his title as Richard III, Elizabeth submitted in exchange for protection for herself and her daughters – an arrangement he honoured. After Richard III’s death at the battle of Bosworth, her children were declared legitimate. Her eldest, Elizabeth of York, was married to Henry VII, strengthening his claim to the throne.

Edward V (1470–83) & Richard, Duke of York (1473–83)

Edward IV’s heir was his eldest son, also named Edward. When the king died unexpectedly, his will, which has not survived, reportedly named his previously loyal brother, Richard, Duke of Gloucester, as lord protector. On hearing of his father’s death, the young Edward and his entourage began a journey from Ludlow to the capital. Gloucester intercepted the party in Buckinghamshire. Gloucester, who claimed the Woodvilles were planning to take power by force, seized the prince.

On 4 May 1983, Edward entered London in the charge of Gloucester. Edward’s coronation was scheduled for 22 June. On 16 June, Elizabeth was persuaded to surrender Edward’s younger brother, Richard, apparently to attend the ceremony. With both princes in his hands, Gloucester publicised his claim to the throne. He was crowned as Richard III on 6 July and a conspiracy to rescue the princes failed that month. By September, rebels were seeing Henry Tudor as a candidate for the throne, suggesting the princes were already believed to be dead.

Richard III (1452–85)

Richard was the youngest surviving son of Richard, 3rd Duke of York, and was still a child when his 18-year-old brother became Edward IV after Yorkist victories. Unlike his brother George (executed for treason in the Tower in 1478 – allegedly drowned in a butt of malmsey wine), Richard was loyal to Edward during his lifetime. On his brother’s death, he moved swiftly to wrest control of his nephew Edward from the boy’s maternal family, the Woodvilles. At some point in June 1483 his role moved from that of protector to usurper. He arrested several of the previous king’s loyal advisors, postponed the coronation and claimed Edward IV’s children were illegitimate because their father had been pre-contracted to marry another woman at the time of his secret marriage to Elizabeth. Richard was crowned, but he faced rebellion that year and further unrest the next. Support for the king decreased as it grew for Henry Tudor, the rival claimant who returned from exile and triumphed at the battle of Bosworth in 1485.

Henry VII (1457–1509)

Henry Tudor was the son of Margaret Beaufort (great-great-granddaughter of Edward III) and Edmund Tudor, half-brother of Henry VI. In 1471, after Edward IV regained the throne, Henry fled to Brittany, where he avoided the king’s attempts to have him returned. As a potential candidate for the throne through his mother’s side, Henry became the focus for opposition to Richard III. After the failed 1483 rebellion against the king, rebels, including relatives of the Woodvilles and loyal former members of Edward IV’s household, joined him in Brittany. In 1485 Henry Tudor invaded, landing first in Wales, and triumphed over Richard III at Bosworth on 22 August.

Henry was crowned on the battlefield with Richard’s crown. The following year he further legitimised his right to rule by marrying Elizabeth of York. When the king died in 1509, his and Elizabeth’s son came to the throne as Henry VIII.

Research reveals DNA of the ‘Princes in the Tower’

The discovery, by Dr John Ashdown-Hill MBE, makes it possible for the first time to prove whether bones held in Westminster Abbey are those of Edward V and his brother Richard of Shrewsbury, Duke of York, the only sons of Edward IV.

The findings of Dr Ashdown-Hill, who died in May, are revealed in The Mythology of the Princes in the Tower, published by Amberley Publishing today. He was Honorary Senior Lecturer in the Department of History at Essex, and a Graduate of the Department.

The boys, nephews of Richard III, were housed in the royal apartments of the Tower of London after their father’s death in 1483. They disappeared shortly after and speculation about their fate remains rife.

Working with academic Glen Moran, of Newman University, Birmingham, and using similar techniques to those he used to discover the mtDNA of Richard III, Dr Ashdown-Hill has been able to prove that opera singer Elizabeth Roberts is an all-female line descendant of the boys, revealing their mtDNA group.

Elizabeth was traced by Glen Moran. She is a direct descendant of the boys’ aunt Margaret Woodville and is their first cousin16 times removed.

In 2012 it was Dr Ashdown-Hill’s mtDNA discovery that proved remains found in Leicester were those of Richard III.

Speaking earlier in the year Dr Ashdown-Hill explained: “It is generally believed that the boys’ bones were found at the Tower of London in 1674 and were taken to Westminster Abbey where they remain. Those bones should be re-examined now to determine whether they are those of Edward and Richard.”

Elizabeth Roberts said: “It’s extraordinary to be a part of this process of historical research. The leap from growing up in Bethnal Green to finding you’re generations away from one of the most fascinating stories in our history is not something I could ever have envisaged.”

Glen Moran said: “The discovery of the mtDNA sequence of the princes was only possible due to several years of hard work on the part of myself and John Ashdown-Hill, as well as Ronny Decortre and the team at KU Leuven. I am thrilled that it is finally being published and hope that it might now be used to identify remains suspected of being those of the princes. It could provide vital evidence in solving one of the greatest mysteries in English history!”

As part of her Missing Princes Project research initiative, Philippa Langley MBE, who led the search for Richard III in the car park in Leicester, is calling for the ‘bones in the urn’ to be investigated.

She said: “Thanks to this remarkable new discovery we now have both sets of DNA in order to make an identification of the remains in the urn, and the science to establish their sex and antiquity.

“Modern analysis of the flawed 1933 investigation suggests that it’s highly unlikely the remains are those of the sons of King Edward IV but if we are to be the seekers of truth, it’s time to question the stories surrounding them, so that we can move our knowledge forward.

“Myth-busting is what Dr John Ashdown-Hill specialised in and thanks to him and Glen we now have the final piece in the jigsaw to come to a definitive conclusion about whether the ‘bones in the urn’ are the so-called Princes in the Tower. It’s time for the truth.”

Dr Ashdown-Hill’s book also casts doubt over the popular belief that the boys were held prisoner in the Tower and murdered by their uncle Richard III.

He explained: “Much of their story is pure mythology. The Tower was the medieval equivalent of Buckingham Palace, and the murder story was only conceived 20 years after the boys disappeared. It is in fact an early illustration of something all governments are good at, the political rewriting of the past.”

Readeption of Henry VI

In 1470 Henry VI’s Lancastrian supporters freed him from the Tower and had him re-crowned. The event was known as the ‘Readeption’.

Edward IV fled to Flanders with his close brother Richard, Duke of Gloucester (future Richard III). His wife, Elizabeth Woodville and their children sought refuge in St Peter’s Sanctuary within Westminster Abbey.

On 1 October 1470 the pregnant Elizabeth arrived at the Abbey, accompanied by her mother and three daughters, Elizabeth, Mary and Cecily. A month later, she gave birth to a son, Edward, who became the heir to the throne. The family lived in relative comfort under the Abbot’s care.

Did you know?

St Peter’s Sanctuary in Westminster Abbey was a chartered sanctuary, able to provide asylum to persecuted Christians, whether criminals or political figures.

Suspicious death of Henry VI

The Lancastrian Henry VI’s reign was cut short when Edward returned from exile in early 1471. He defeated Henry’s followers at the Battle of Tewkesbury, where Henry’s teenage son and heir was killed in the fighting. Henry was once again incarcerated in the Tower.

Then in May news came of Henry’s death. It was first thought he died of melancholy, but gradually suspicions arose that he was murdered by agents of the Duke of Gloucester while at prayer in the Wakefield Tower, a claim still unproven to this day.

However, his death effectively ended the Lancastrian line which was certainly convenient for Edward IV. Now he could strengthen his rule, having both an heir in his eldest son Edward, and a ‘spare’ in his next son Richard.

The King's Private Chapel at The Wakefield Tower Throne Room at the Tower of London. © Historic Royal Palaces

With the return and restoration of his father in 1471, Prince Edward was invested as Prince of Wales. He was sent to his father’s childhood home Ludlow Castle in the Welsh border to be educated under the care of his uncle, Anthony, Lord Rivers. Anthony was the Queen’s brother and the King’s right-hand man. He was also regarded as an intelligent man and a noted scholar.

Edward IV (1442-83) with Elizabeth Woodville (c.1437-92). Looking on are two future kings, Richard III (in blue) and a young Edward V (in red and ermine) Earl Rivers presenting his translation of the Dictes and Sayings of the Philosophers to the king and his family Anthony Woodville (1440-83) second 2nd Earl Rivers. © Lambeth Palace Library MS 265 f. Viv

Who murdered the princes in the Tower?

The honest answer to that is that it rather depends on your interpretation of the sources and, as I have said before, your affiliations. Richard III is a monarch who stirs strong sentiments! I first encountered the event and a few of the various sources aged eleven when my History teacher used the Jackdaw activity pack about the princes to encourage his class to see that History isn’t something cast in concrete and that the same source can be valued or discredited according to viewpoint and known facts. The story of the princes is the story of an unsolved murder – it’s a bit like unmasking Jack the Ripper in that everyone has their pet theory and some evidence to back up their ideas. The novelist Patricia Cornwall has spent a huge sum of money to gather overlooked evidence which points to Jack being the artist Walter Sickert. Unsolved historical murders have a fascination because everyone can look at the available evidence and draw their own conclusions. Difficulties arise when historians – and determined amateur sleuths – try to find previously unknown evidence that has disappeared down the crevices of time that will point in the right direction. It is often the work of painstakingly moving the pieces around until a more clear picture emerges. Until then it has to be best and most accepted fit – but that doesn’t mean that in a modern court the evidence would produce a guilty verdict.

So here are the possibilities of what happened to the Princes- in no particular order, other than the order they’ve emerged from my brain.

    King Richard III had them killed. Please don’t inhale and reach for your keyboard if you think he’s innocent – he is a rather notable suspect. Richard, as duke of Gloucester, served his brother Edward IV with loyalty and honour. Edward left him to get on with ruling the North of England and he did a stonkingly good job of it. The good folk of York felt sufficiently strongly about it to make a note of his deposition and death at Bosworth – an act guaranteed to hack off the new regime. The problem for Richard, if you’re that way inclined, was that Edward IV allowed the Woodville faction to gain dominance at court in terms of lucrative positions, marriages and ultimately by giving the care of his son into Woodville hands. Richard only found out about his brother’s death because Lord Hastings sent him a note warning of Woodville intentions to get young Edward crowned as quickly as possible which would have seen Richard as a protector without any power because he didn’t have control of the king. When Richard intercepted the young king at Northampton it could be argued that Richard was acting in the interests of rather a lot of people who weren’t terrible keen on the aforementioned Woodvilles who were regarded by many as too big for their boots – and now is not the time to go down the side alley of Jacquetta Grey’s lineage. So far so good. Nor is this post the time to go through the whole chronology of events. The key things that stick in my mind are the Eleanor Butler incident i.e. the announcement that Edward IV had already been pre contracted in marriage thus rendering all his children illegitimate and Richard as heir to the throne. The argument is usually put forward that if the children were illegitimate and since the Titulus Regulus act of Parliament said they were then there was no way they could inherit-so why kill them? There’s also the episode with Lord Hastings finding himself being manhandled out of a privy council meeting to a handy lump of timber where he was executed without trial – clearly a large chunk from the historical jigsaw missing there although plenty of historians have presented theories on the subject as to why Richard should fall out with his brother’s friend so dramatically and decisively. Jane Shore found herself doing public penance, lost her property and ended up in jail in the aftermath of the episode – again why should Richard do that? His brother had plenty of other mistresses. The problem with skulduggery is that people don’t tend to make careful notes before, during or after the event – at least not if they wanted to keep their heads. There is obviously much more that I could write about both for and against Richard’s involvement. I have four rather hefty volumes on my desk as I type. Richard was the key suspect at the time according to rumour- Dominic Mancini left an account of events as he understood them. He left England the week of Richard’s coronation, doesn’t provide an account of what Richard looked like and his manuscript went missing until 1934. He says:” But after Hastings was removed, all the attendants who had waited on the king were debarred access to him. He and his brother were withdrawn into the inner apartments of the Tower proper, and day by day began to be seen more rarely behind the bars and windows, til at length they ceased to appear altogether. The Physician John Argentine, the last of his attendants whose services the king enjoyed, reported that the young kin, like a victim prepared for sacrifice, sought remission of his sins by daily confession and penance, because he believed that death was facing him.”

“I have seen many men burst into tears and lamentations when mention was made of him after his removal from men’s sight and already there is a suspicion that he had been done away with. Whether, However, he has been done away with, and by what manner of death, so far I have not yet at all discovered.”

The thing is that there is some evidence but its contradictory and circumstantial. It might be possible to rule out the princes’ survival if the bones in the urn in Westminster Abbey turned out to belong to Edward V and Richard of York. Even if they weren’t it wouldn’t necessarily mean that they had survived their misadventure. And if the bones were theirs, it wouldn’t prove who did the killing since the skeletons did not emerge from their resting place clutching a note identifying the murderer – though it would make the account offered by More more plausible – errors and all.

And that’s all I intend to post about the Princes in the Tower for the time being. Most of the time, with a few notable exceptions, if it weren’t for the traffic stats on the History Jar I wouldn’t know whether anyone was reading my ramblings or not. I’ve not got the hang of being liked, joining communities or developing conversations through comments – Richard III, the Woodvilles and the Princes on the other hand certainly get a response! So thank you for your comments – positive, negative, knowledgeable and thought provoking as they are.

Primary sources or near primary sources include:

André, Bernard: Vita Henrici VII (in Memorials of King Henry VII, ed. J. Gairdner, Rolls Series, 1858)

Bull of Pope Innocent VIII on the Marriage of Henry VII with Elizabeth of York (ed. J. Payne-Collier, Camden Miscellany I, 1847)

Fabyan, Robert: The Concordance of Histories: The New Chronicles of England and France (1516) (ed. H. Ellis, 1811)

Grafton, Richard: Grafton’s Chronicle, or History of England (2 vols, ed. H. Ellis, 1809)

Hall, Edward: The Union of the Two Noble and Illustre Families of Lancaster and York (London, 1550 ed. H. Ellis, 1809 facsimile edition of the original published 1970)

Holinshed, Raphael: Chronicles of England, Scotland and Ireland (6 vols, ed. H. Ellis, 1807–8)

Leland, John: Collectanea (6 vols, ed. T. Hearne, Oxford, 1770–74)

A London Chronicle in the Time of Henry VII and Henry VIII (ed. C. Hopper, Camden Society, Camden Miscellany IV, 1839)

More, Sir Thomas: The History of King Richard the Third (in The Complete Works of Sir Thomas More, Vol. II, ed. R. S. Sylvester and others, Yale, 1963, London, 1979)

Rous, John: Joannis Rossi Antiquarii Warwicensis. Historia Regum Angliae (ed. T. Hearne, Oxford, 1716 and 1745)

The Song of the Lady Bessy

Stow, John: A Survey of London

Vergil, Polydore: The Anglica Historia of Polydore Vergil, AD 1485–1573 (trans. and ed. D. Hay, Camden Series, 1950)

Did one of the princes in the Tower survive to be an Essex bricklayer?

Legend has it that he was murdered alongside his royal brother in the Tower of London.

But according to a fascinating new theory, the young Prince Richard escaped the walls of his prison.

And he ended up building walls himself. as a bricklayer in Essex.

The mystery of what happened to the Princes in the Tower is one of the most enduring in English history.

In 1483 following the death of their father, Edward IV, the boys, aged 12 and nine, were locked in the Tower and never seen again.

Their uncle, Richard III, is widely blamed for killing the boys after persuading Parliament to declare them illegitimate and assuming the throne.

In 1674, almost 200 years later, two skeletons were discovered under some stairs in the tower. No one has been able to establish whether these really were the princes' remains.

University of Leicester historian David Baldwin has cast new light on the mystery.

In his book, The Lost Prince: The Survival of Richard of York, Mr Baldwin maintains the betrayal by Richard III is not supported by the evidence.

He believes that Edward V, the elder prince, died of natural causes, while Richard, the younger prince, was eventually reunited with his mother, Queen Elizabeth Woodville, and allowed to live with her under the supervision of two trusted courtiers.

The prince was later moved to Lutterworth in Leicestershire and taken to Bosworth Field the day before the battle.

King Richard may have considered naming the boy his heir, says the historian. But his defeat and death changed everything.

Mr Baldwin suggests that Prince Richard was taken to St John's Abbey at Colchester after the battle-of Bosworth and worked there as a bricklayer until the Dissolution of 1539.

He said: "Was he the 'Richard Plantagenet' who died at Eastwell, in Kent, in December 1550, and who, unusually for a bricklayer, could read Latin?

"He told his new employer that he was a natural son of Richard III - but what if he was really the 'Lost Prince'?"

Most commentators assume that no one knew what had become of the two young princes. But Mr Baldwin argues that many people - kings, royal confidants, the boys' sisters and former household officers - did know but chose to say nothing about it.

He added: "Dead princes were a potential embarrassment but a live prince would have been a real danger and a closely guarded secret.

"Richard survived when others with a Yorkist claim to the throne perished because he was out of sight and perhaps, eventually, out of mind also.

"Eastwell, where he died, is only 12 miles from Canterbury Cathedral where his portrait still adorns the 'royal' window of the Martyrdom Chapel.

"I wonder, did an elderly bricklayer ever pause to look into the face of his own image - an image from another life - on the occasions when he visited the greater church?"

The Princes in the Tower

The Princes in the Tower, Edward V and Richard, Duke of York, c.1500 © The 'Princes in the Tower' were Edward (1470-1483) and Richard (1473-1483), the sons of Edward IV. Shortly after Edward was crowned Edward V, he and his brother disappeared and were never seen alive again.

Edward was born in London in 1470. His brother Richard, Duke of York, was born in 1473 in Shrewsbury. Their parents were Edward IV and his wife, Elizabeth Woodville. Edward IV had come to the throne as a result of the Wars of the Roses and managed to restore a certain amount of stability to the country.

Edward IV died suddenly on 9 April 1483 and his eldest son was proclaimed Edward V at Ludlow. Edward's uncle, his father's brother, Richard, Duke of Gloucester, was named as protector. Elizabeth Woodville and her supporters attempted to replace Gloucester with a regency Council, aware of the dislike Gloucester had for them. As the new king, Edward V, travelled towards London, he was met by Gloucester and escorted to the capital, where he was lodged in the Tower of London. In June, Edward was joined by his brother, the Duke of York.

The boys were declared illegitimate because it was alleged that their father was contracted to marry someone else before his marriage to Elizabeth Woodville.

In July 1483, Richard, Duke of Gloucester was crowned Richard III. The two boys were never seen again. It was widely believed that their uncle had them murdered.

Dr Ashdown-Hill, a leading expert on Richard III and the Wars of the Roses, and a key member of Philippa Langley’s Looking For Richard Project that discovered Richard III in a car park in Leicester, has today revealed that the ‘bones in the urn’ in Westminster Abbey, believed for centuries by traditional historians to be those of the ‘Princes in the Tower’, apparently have no blood relationship to King Richard III.

This discovery, which throws into question the identity of the ‘bones in the urn’, is revealed for the first-time in Dr Ashdown-Hill’s highly acclaimed work, The Secret Queen: Eleanor Talbot, the Woman Who Put Richard III on the Throne, in a new and updated paperback edition published in July by The History Press.

The ‘Princes in the Tower’ were the nephews of King Richard III
(1483-85) who vanished during his reign.

With no evidence of any murder, their disappearance ignited one of our greatest unsolved historical mysteries.

The remarkable finding is part of Dr Ashdown-Hill’s continuing investigation into the mythology surrounding Richard III and came about through his analysis of the medieval monarch’s dental record.

X-ray evidence of skull from Norwich (possibly Talbot) with congenital missing tooth

The dental record reveals that Richard III had no congenitally missing teeth, in sharp contrast to the ‘bones in the urn’, where both skulls are said to present this genetic anomaly.

Previously it has been argued that this feature provided strong evidence of the royal identity of the ‘bones in the urn’.

It was claimed that the ‘Princes’ inherited their missing teeth from their grandmother, Cecily, Duchess of York.

But Dr Ashdown-Hill’s latest discovery strongly suggests that the ‘bones in the urn’ are not related to Cecily’s son, Richard III, who was a first degree relative of the ‘Princes’.

Scientific studies of hypodontia (congenitally missing teeth) have further suggested that the anomaly is relatively rare, being present in less than 5% of the population, and is slightly more prevalent in the female population.

This discovery adds further weight to the many questions now surrounding the identity of the ‘bones in the urn’, and raises the possibility that the remains may even be those of as yet unidentified females.

In 1674, the bones were discovered at the Tower of London by workmen digging ten feet below the stairs that led from the Royal Apartments to the White Tower.

Four years later, they were reburied in the urn in Westminster Abbey by Charles II who had been persuaded to accept that the remains were the ‘Princes in the Tower’.

The story of a stair burial for the ‘Princes’ had been proposed in the 16th century by Thomas More. However, in his account, now generally discredited by academia as a dramatic narrative, More went on to say that the bodies were removed from the stair burial and taken elsewhere.

What caused the four-year delay in the reburial of the bones in Westminster during the reign of Charles II, where the bones were kept during this time, and if they are indeed the same bones that were discovered in 1674 by the workmen, is also not known.

This newly-revealed dental evidence is another remarkable discovery from the results of the Looking For Richard Project. Modern scientific analysis applied to the flawed 1933 investigation of the ‘bones in the urn’ has revealed that the sex and historical period of death of the remains is unknown. My latest discovery now casts doubts on the dental claims put forward in 1934, 1965 and 1987. Nor can we be sure that there are just two sets of bones within the urn. It used to be thought that there were two sets of bones in the Clarence vault at Tewkesbury Abbey, where Richard III’s brother was buried. But when I had those remains re-examined in 2013 it emerged that there were three or possibly four individuals present – information published by The History Press in my book The Third Plantagenet. The only way we will ever truly be able to answer all the questions about the ‘bones in the urn’ is, of course, either by further archival discoveries, or scientific analysis.

I’m very excited about this new, updated edition of my work on Eleanor Talbot, published by The History Press. The book includes a remarkable new facial reconstruction of Eleanor’s putative remains, produced by experts at the University of Dundee. It also contains important new dental evidence in respect of Eleanor’s putative remains, provides evidence of when and where she could have married Edward IV, and offers two new theories for what may have caused her early demise.

Philippa Langley of the Looking For Richard Project states,

By discovering Richard III, the Looking For Richard Project succeeded in demolishing so many of the myths surrounding this much maligned monarch. We dared to question where others merely repeated. Indeed, by questioning the age-old story of the ‘bones in the river’ we succeeded in finding the king. Now it’s been revealed that the remains we found in Leicester question the received wisdom and dogma surrounding the disappearance of the sons of Edward IV. This exciting new discovery by Dr Ashdown-Hill is another step forward in our quest for knowledge, so that one day we may be able to uncover the truth about one of our most enduring historical mysteries. The search continues.

John Ashdown-Hill is a freelance historian and a bestselling author with a PhD in history. He regularly presents his research, and has achieved an excellent reputation in late medieval history. A Channel Four TV documentary was partially based upon Ashdown-Hill’s DNA research in The Last Days of Richard III. In 2015, Philippa Langley and Dr Ashdown-Hill were awarded MBEs by HM The Queen for their work in the discovery and identification of Richard III.

Will the Mystery of the Princes in the Tower Finally Have Answers?

Could the mystery of the Princes in the Tower finally be solved?

In 1674, workers (while remodeling the Tower of London) came upon two child skeletons that were hidden in box under a staircase. Instantly, to the 17th century contemporaries, these bones were assumed to have been the lost Plantagenet princes (Edward V and Prince Richard). Sir Thomas More, in his histories, wrote specifically that the princes were buried “at a stair-foot” (possibly this information came from interviews with those who lived during the time of Richard III or maybe More was just making assumptions). This was enough for Charles II who had the bones buried at Westminster Abbey where they have remained to this day.

But, these bones have never been tested. There is no proof that these were the Princes except that they were found in the last location that the Princes had lived and were bones of children. Now, there might be a chance to solve this mystery once and for all. A direct descendant of Jacquetta of Luxembourg (the prince’s maternal grandmother) has been found and has allowed a sample of her DNA to be used to test against the bones found in the tower. From what I have read, it has been very difficult search to find a direct descendant (which makes sense due to the over 500 year time gap). The only hurdle now is to get permission from Westminster to exhume the bones once again in order to complete this test. Again, from what I have read, it seems that Westminster has been unwilling in the past to allow this, but maybe with having this solid DNA sample they may be more accepting.

Jaquette of Luxembourg, Mother of Elizabeth Woodville

Edward V and Prince Richard were the two surviving sons of Edward IV and his queen, Elizabeth Woodville. They lived towards the end of the ongoing conflict of the War of the Roses (Lancaster v. York, cousin v. cousin). This civil war had been continuing for over 30 years, but towards the end of Edward IV’s reign there seemed to finally be a relative peace. The succession also seemed extremely secured. Edward IV and Elizabeth had 12 children which included two sons (an heir and a spare). When Edward IV died of an unexpected illness, he left his two sons who were only aged 12 and 9 years old. Edward IV named his brother, Richard Duke of Gloucester, to be his son’s regent. Duke Richard had always proven himself to be one of Edward’s most loyal subjects, so who would suspect what happened after?

Elizabeth Woodville, mother of the Princes

Duke Richard quickly took control of the heir, Edward, as Lord Protector. The Woodville family did not quite agree with the situation and preferred the heirs to be in hands of their own family (who had quickly grown powerful under Edward IV’s reign). Duke Richard knew this and quickly arrested and executed the boys uncle Anthony Woodville and their half brother, Richard Grey. Dowager Queen Elizabeth quickly took her daughters and remaining son, Richard, into sanctuary.

Once Duke Richard was able to convince the dowager queen to let his nephew out of sanctuary, the coronation for young Edward V was indefinitely postponed. Richard was sent to join his brother in the Tower of London, where they would remain for the rest of their lives. In 1484 Parliament declared that Edward IV’s marriage with Elizabeth Woodville invalid due to a “pre-contract” with a Lady Eleanor Butler. I personally believe this was false. Duke Richard use this existing rumor as an excuse to take the throne once the nephews were proven “illegitimate.” He was crowed as Richard III on July 3 of that year.

There are recorded sightings of the boys playing outside on the Tower ground, but eventually were restricted to the inner apartments of the Tower. There were less and less sightings of the boys outside until they seemly disappeared. Many believe they were murdered by 1483 and others believe they were alive until 1484. It is really one of histories enduring mysteries as to the fate of the poor Princes in the Tower.

The main theory, of course, is that Richard III had the boys killed then hid their bodies. This would make sense as he did have them initially imprisoned in the Tower. The Princes were also an obvious threat. Despite Parliament declaring the Princes “illegitimate”, it would not stop those who believed in them from starting another revolt against Richard III. They were a clear danger for Richard. Allegedly, Sir James Tyrell later gave a confession that he smothered the princes under orders from Richard III. Tyrell obtained the keys and orders from the Constable of the Tower, Brackenbury and proceeded with the act. But, this “confession” has never been documented. When Henry VII later had Tyrell executed, the death of the princes was not one of the reasons. One would think that Henry VII, being so paranoid about his position on the throne, would have done anything to show his Yorkist predecessor was a kin slayer and that there was no chance the boys were still alive.

The potential DNA test, if it comes back a positive match, would be very incriminating for Richard III. There are many who, recently, have been working on rehabilitating Richard III’s reputation and often argue he was not the one who caused the disappearance of the boys. This test may hurt their cause.

There are other theories out there addressing what happened to the boys. The next most popular theory suggests that the princes were murdered due to a plot by Henry Tudor and his mother, Margaret Beaufort. Henry was out of the country during the suspected time of the disappearance, but were the boys possibly still alive by the time he took the throne? Did he have them murdered then? Were agents sent to commit the deed? Henry would definitely have a cause to eliminate the last Yorkist heirs and pave the way for his own claim.

Henry VII

Another popular theory is that one of the boys survived. I remember Philippa Gregory in her Cousin’s War series, suggesting that Richard was whisked to safety and a replacement child was sent to Richard III (I don’t know if she believes in this theory or if it just made good fiction). This is an intriguing theory as there were two later instances where rebellions were started led by one claiming they were Richard Plantagenet, son of Edward IV. The two main rebellions revolved around Lambert Simnel and Perkin Warbeck.

Lambert Simnel was used as a puppet in 1487 to start another Yorkist rebellion against the new King Henry VII. Simnel was under the control of the Earl of Lincoln John de la Pole and Richard Simons. Initially, they rallied support claiming young Simnel was Prince Richard who had miraculously escaped, but later flip flopped to make him Edward Plantagenet, Earl of Warwick (the princes cousin). They gathered support in Ireland, but once the invasion began could not get the support of the English nobles. The rebellion fizzled out and poor Simnel was spared by Henry VII. Simnel went on to work in the royal kitchens.

Perkin Warbeck is a little more interesting. Warbeck always claimed he was Prince Richard, son of Edward IV and to many this was supported by his appearance. It was not until he was captured that the full confession came out revealing he was a peasant’s son (but was this induced by torture?) Margaret, Duchess of Burgandy and sister of Edward IV, brought Warbeck to her court in Flanders and groomed him for his role to revolt against Henry VII for the Yorkist cause. They gained the support of many European sovereigns, who believe Warbeck was the true heir. James IV of Scotland even arranged a marriage with a noble born wife, Catherine Gordon, who was the daughter of the Earl of Huntley. This caused extreme anxiety for Henry VII and the current English government. From 1490-1497 Warbeck and his followers worked to bring back a Yorkist government, but were eventually defeated and imprisoned by Henry VII. The rebellion failed and Warbeck was made to give those confessions about his humble origins. Then he was eventually hanged for treason on November 23rd 1499. Yet, Warbeck never wavered from his claim he was Prince Richard, until he was under the influence of possible torture. This brings up the questions: Did Prince Richard somehow survive?

Richard III

I am not sure when the DNA test will be performed or if permission will be granted, but I am eager to hear the results. My personal belief is that Richard III had the boys killed discreetly to solidify his claim. The Henry Tudor theory seems a little far fetched and, while intriguing, I don’t think any of the boys escaped. The leaders of those rebellions used young men who could pass for one of the Princes as a pawn in their game.

I am always interested in hearing other theories as this mystery has always fascinated me. Do any of you have any theories as to the fate of the Princes? Do you think the DNA test will have a big impact in solving this cold case or do you think it won’t make a difference?

First read about the DNA testing from History Magazines Sept Edition 2018

A good reading on this topic is Alison Weir’s The Princes in the Tower published in 1992. She is one of my favorite historians, though the book isn’t without its biases. As this is a cold case there are many different interpretations of who was reaponsible and why.

The Princes in the Tower: What happened to Prince Edward V of England, aged 12, and Richard of Shrewsbury, Duke of York, aged 9? Did Richard III kill his own nephews?

Prince Edward V of England and Richard of Shrewbury, Duke of York, were the only surviving sons of King Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville surviving at the time of his death. They were kept in the Tower of London by their paternal uncle, the Duke of Gloucester, supposedly in preparation for Edward V's coronation. However, before young Edward could be crowned king, he was declared illegitimate and Gloucester himself ascended the throne as Richard III. Since then, the boys' fate has been largely debated by historians as they disappeared from written history. What happened to the two young boys?

While I will be attempting to keep the story as straight as possible, a lot of the names in this story are either the same or change throughout the course of history. I will make a list here of everyone relevant to the story for the sake of clarity.

Edward V and Richard of Shrewbury, Duke of York: 12-year-old and 9-year-old sons of Edward IV, disappeared followed being kept in the Tower of London.

King Edward IV of England and Elizabeth Woodville - parents of Edward V and Richard of Shrewbury, Duke of York.

Richard of York, 3rd Duke of York: Father of Edward IV

Henry VI: King of England until 1471, overthrown by Richard, Duke of York

Richard, Duke of Gloucester = Richard III = Brother of Edward IV, uncle of Edward V and Richard of Shrewbury. I refer to him as "Gloucester" for clarity.

Lady Eleanor Butler: Edward IV's intended, before her death in 1468.

Robert Stillington, Bishop of Bath and Wells: Bishop who had declared Edward IV's marriage null.

King Edward IV of England, the father of the Princes in the Tower, was a man with a long lineage of royalty, reaching back to 1154. His family belonged to the House of Plantagenet, which had been split into two opposing factions--the House of Lancaster, and the House of York.

The House of Lancaster (referred to as Lancastrians) had ruled since 1399. Following King Henry VI's weak rule and subsequent mental illness, Edward IV's father, Richard, Duke of York (a descendant to Edward III via the Yorkist branch) made a great effort to claim the throne in 1455.

Edward IV's father, Richard, 3rd Duke of York, was famous for this opposition and caused what is known today as the War of the Roses, which continued periodically through a series of bloody battles for the next thirty years. The Act of Accord was passed on October 25, 1460, stating that Henry VI should remain on the throne for the rest of his life, but that Richard and/or his heirs should succeed Henry VI to the throne. Naturally, this was not soon enough for Richard, and during the Battle of Wakefield on December 30, 1460, Richard and his youngest son, Edmund, were killed in a final pursuit for the crown. Edward IV was suddenly the new successor to the crown his father had died fighting for.

Edward IV proceeded to imprison Henry VI, and fought the largest and bloodiest battle entitled the War of the Roses. Edward IV came out as the victor and forcibly seized the throne from Henry IV. In the Battle of Tewkesbury on May 4, 1471, Henry IV's son and heir, Edward of Westminster, was killed in action. Henry VI is said to have died of "melancholy," shortly afterward on May 21, 1471. However, this death is also debated, and historians argue that it is entirely probable that his death was ordered by Edward IV once his successor was killed.

The Death of Edward IV and Move to the Tower of London

On April 9, 1483, Edward IV died unexpectantly after a three-week-long battle with a mysterious illness, usually agreed upon to be either pneumonia or typhoid. Before his death, he named his brother, Richard, Duke of Gloucester (referred to as "Gloucester" from here on out) as Lord Protector. As Lord Protector, Gloucester was required to help Edward V through his minority until he would be old enough to rule independently.

In April of 1483, Edward V was only 12 years old. Gloucester quickly attempted to take control of the young boy and had the king's uncle and Edward V's half-brother arrested and beheaded to ensure that none other could claim the throne. By May 19, 1483, Edward V was moved into the Tower of London, which was a traditional residence for monarchs before the coronation ceremony. A month later, his 9-year-old brother Richard, Duke of York, joined him in the tower. The date was set: By June 22, 1483, Edward V would be named king.

Claims of Illegitimacy

However, the coronation of Edward V seemed to get pushed back again and again. Gloucester, away from the Tower, was slowly concocting a plan of his own. Gloucester was postponing the coronation deliberately in order to push favor towards himself. By mid-June, Gloucester had convinced Parliament (with the aid of Robert Stillington, Bishop of Bath and Wells) to declare the princes illegitimate on the grounds that their father, Edward IV, had committed bigatry. How?

Prior to meeting Elizabeth Woodville, Edward IV had been contracted to marry a widow named Lady Eleanor Butler. At 13, Eleanor had married Sir Thomas Butler, Lord of Sudeley, who had died before Edward IV's overthrow of the House of Lancaster. She had died in 1468. Gloucester

Robert Stillington, Bishop of Bath and Wells, had been briefly imprisoned and fined for speaking out against Edward IV in 1478. The bishop claimed that the late Edward IV had been in love with a beautiful young woman (Lady Eleanor) and had promised her marriage upon the condition that he slept with her. According to the bishop, the lady consented, and he had married them when nobody was present but the two and himself. He said that Edward IV never revealed his relationship with Lady Eleanor due to his "fortune depending on the court."

As Edward IV, in this recount, would have been committing bigamy, this illegitimized both of his sons in line to the throne. With his brother Edward IV dead and Edward IV's sons stripped of their title, there was only one living male who could take the throne: Gloucester. And on July 6, 1478, in a coronation ceremony originally intended for Edward V, Gloucester was crowned King Richard III (hereafter, Gloucester will be referred to as Richard III).


The last reference to the young princes, left in the Tower after the coronation of their uncle, was mentioned in the Great Chronicle, on June 16. It records that the children of King Edward were seen shooting [arrows] and playing in the garden of the Tower. Dominic Mancini, who was an Italian friar and chronicler, recorded that after Richard III seized the throne from Edward V, the brothers were taken into "the inner apartments of the Tower", and were gradually seen less and less until they disappeared altogether. His account suggests that the boys were moved from the Garden or "Bloody" Tower to the White Tower, where royal captives were typically held.

There are reports of a physician visiting Edward V while he was in the tower, and there are a handful of reports of the two princes being seen after the coronation of their uncle. But, after the summer of 1483, there were no recorded sightings of either of the boys.

Another source claims that the princes may have been alive as late as July 1484, referring to a household regulation issued by Richard III, claiming that "the children should be together at one breakfast." However, it is ambiguous as to who Richard refers to as "the children."

Despite the seemingly obvious end-result, there is no direct evidence that either of the princes were murdered. There is also no direct evidence or accusations were made against Richard during his lifetime. Rumors of their death (recorded by Mancini) following their disappearance in the Tower had taken hold by 1484, even scaring the young King Charles III of France, who has only 13. Their disappearance was seen as a warning to other young princes, and early reports all state that Richard had killed the princes.

Of all sources, Dominic Mancini's accounts are considered most accurate, as they were written accounts of what he witnessed and heard while living at court.

These later sources are uncertain, as they were written in the years following Richard III's death and the succession of Henry VII (and many accounts post-Henry VII are considered biased in terms of tudor influence).

A source from 1500 identifies the Henry Stafford, 2nd Duke of Buckingham, as the person who put them to death. There were theories that he took it upon himself to murder the boys to gain King Richard III's favor. He later fell out of favor with the infamously paranoid Richard III, and was executed for treason.

Henry Tudor, who later became Henry VII in 1485 after defeating Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth, has also been claimed to be the killer. Henry VII was known to execute rival claimants to the throne, and later married the princes' elder sister, Elizabeth of York. Her right to inherit the throne, therefore, was dependent on both of her brothers being dead. Many historians suggest that Henry VII's tight-lipped approach to the subject may have been due to the fact that the princes were still alive he had openly criticized Richard III for many of his character traits, and yet had never mentioned the murder of the two boys.

Robert Fabyan's Chronicles of London, which was complied around 1500, named Richard III flatly as the murderer.

In Holinshed's Chronicles, written in the late 1500s, also claims that the princes were directly murdered by Richard III. This was the main source of Shakespeare, whose Richard III play directly portrays Richard as the murderer.

Famous Thomas More, the Tudor loyalist, wrote The History of King Richard III between 1513 and 1518, portraying Richard as the villain. He names two men, Miles Forest and John Dighton, as the murderers. According to More, they entered the Tower at midnight and smothered the two boys in their sleep.

Another source cites Sir James Tyrrell as the murderer, acting on Richard's orders. Sir James Tyrrell was a loyal servant of Richard III, who allegedly confessed to the murder of the princes before his execution in 1502. Tyrrell claimed to have smothered the boys in their sleep, buried, then exhumed, disinterred, and then reburied in a secret location.

According to Matthew Lewis, a historian and author of Richard III: Loyalty Binds Me in 2018, sources from the Tudor era suggested that at least one of the boys may have survived. They suggested that they may have been smuggled from the Tower across the sea, or spared by their would-be murderers. Lewis holds the belief that Richard III had in fact not killed the princes, citing Elizabeth Woodville sending her daughters out of sanctuary and into Richard III's care in spring 1484. He also cites that none closest to the princes had accused Richard of murder.

Discovery of Bodies

In 1674, remodeling of the Tower of London revealed a wooden box containing two small human skeletons, found 10 feet (3.0 m) under the staircase to the chapel of the White Tower. These were not the first bones of children found in the tower, with the bones of two children being found earlier "in an old chamber that had been walled up." This location, however, was significant as it matched the earlier writings of Mancini's accounts. However, in More's account, the bones had been later moved to a different grave than the Tower.

Under the orders of King Charles II, the bones were placed into an urn and laid to rest in Westminster Abbey, in the wall of the Henry VII Lady Chapel.

The bones were removed and examined in 1933 by an archivist of Westminster Abbey. After investigations by forensic experts, they concluded that the bones belonged to two children around the correct ages for the princes. However, this examination has been criticized as it was entered under the assumption that the bones were of the two princes, rather than an unbiased perspective. No further DNA testing has been conducted on the bones, allegedly due to prevention due to Westminster Abbey officials.

In 1789, St. George's Chapel in Windsor was undergoing repairs when workers rediscovered and accidentally broke into the vault of Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville, and in the process discovered a small adjourning vault containing the coffins of two unidentified children. The tomb was said to have been labeled for their children George Plantagenet (died before age 2), and Mary Plantagenet (died at 14), whose deaths had predeceased the king. However, two lead coffins clearly labeled as George Plantagenet and Mary Plantagenet were discovered elsewhere in the chapel.

In order to receive permission to examine the graves, royal consent would be necessary to open any royal tomb. A 2012 Leicester archaeological dig prompted renewed interest in re-excavating the skeletons of "the two princes," but Queen Elizabeth II has not granted the approval required for testing of an interred royal.

Modern Examinations

On February 2, 2021, new research has pointed towards Richard III having murdered the princes. A paper published in the academic journal History, entitled "More On A Murder," was written by Professor Thornton of the University of Huddersfield. He claims that Sir Thomas More's account of the murder of the Princes is likely the most accurate. He cites that the two men More implicated--Miles Forest and John Dighton--were acting on direct orders from Richard III. Professor Thornton claims that the alleged killer, Miles Forest, had two sons who became courtiers for King Henry VII and therefore worked alongside Sir Thomas More himself. Professor Thornton speculates that the two sons spoke with Sir Thomas More about their father's (Miles Forest) murder of the young boys. He believes that More's accounts of the events are given more credibility with the knowledge that Forest's sons had worked and lived alongside More, likely giving more credence to More's account.

What do you believe? Who was the true killer of the boys? Could Richard III's image, skewed by Tudor history, been falsely accused of murdering his nephews? Or, did he really murder the boys to secure his place as king?

Watch the video: The Princes in the Tower. Murdered or Survived? (July 2022).


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